If the New York Stock Exchange is good at anything, it’s changing its mind over whether or not three giant Chinese telecommunications companies with alleged ties to that country’s military-industrial-political complex should be allowed to trade their shares on its hallowed if mostly empty floor. So, given that predilection and also recent events, maybe it might consider doing so again?
In separate filings Thursday morning in Hong Kong, China Mobile Ltd., China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. and China Telecom Corp. said they had filed requests asking the NYSE to reverse its decision to delist their American depositary receipts. They said they had asked if a trading halt on their ADRs could be lifted in the meantime.
The requests came hours after Joe Biden was sworn in as the new U.S. president. Mr. Biden signed 15 executive orders and two executive actions on his first day in office, reversing some of former President Trump’s key policies.
Sure, none of those orders had anything to do with China at all, let alone the specific Trump order banning Americans from investing in companies that support the Chinese military that brought about the whole matter in the first place, but you never know what’s going to come next, other than that an angry phone call from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin won’t be among them. Plus, a third flip-flop now opens the exciting opportunity for the NYSE to make a fourth a few months down the line.
Nicholas Turner, a lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Hong Kong, said it wasn’t “outside the realm of possibility” that the NYSE could do a third reversal and re-allow trading of the ADRs. He said it was somewhat arbitrary to delist the companies now, given that the executive order allows exchanges to handle transactions through Nov. 11.